In 2013, no team in the NHL is putting more on the line than the Minnesota Wild, while the Buffalo Sabres are mailing it in for a rebuilding effort this offseason. In order to reach the playoffs for the first time in five years, Minnesota dealt Johan Larsson and Matt Hackett, as well as a first-round draft pick in 2013 and a second-round draft pick in 2014, for Buffalo’s captain, Jason Pominville, and a fourth-round draft pick in 2014.
It’s obvious the Wild gave up major assets to make this move happen, but acquiring a two-way player like Pominville couldn’t have happened at a better time for Minnesota. Buffalo, meanwhile, is on the verge of missing the playoffs for the second straight season, and the fourth time in six seasons. The Sabres’ high-priced failing roster has to be one of the most disappointing story lines of the season.
Minnesota will now have an amazing first line, including Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Pominville. Parise and Pominville played on the same line in 2008 for the U.S. national team.
Pominville will finish this season with one year remaining on his contract, giving Minnesota plenty of time to decide what to do with the six-time 20-goal scorer. This season, he has tallied 25 points and 10 goals in 27 games for the Sabres. Pominville’s first opportunity to play for the Wild will be against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
John Engel is a Pac-12 college basketball writer for Rant Sports and also works for ESPNLA 710 AM radio in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.